Houston, Texas Police Chief Troy Finner said Sunday there needs to be a “laser focus” on both police violating people’s rights and suspects “out there doing wrong.”
In an interview on CBS News’ “Face The Nation," Finner asserted “we have to come together and communicate.”
“We need to have a laser focus on those officers who are violating people rights and also the suspects who are out there that's doing it wrong,” he said. “Let's come together, let's have those difficult conversations and let's love one another and our nation.”
The chief urged law enforcement officers to not get caught up in “the negative noise” of criticism generated by high-profile cases of police-involved killings.
“You have to remind them, what did they sign up for? They signed up to protect and serve,” he said. “And you also have to remind them that the majority of citizens in Houston and around the nation respect and honor police officers. You have to remind them, look, don't get caught up in the negative noise. Understand what's going on.
“Understand that people of color, communities of color, are hurting. We have to be honest with them. We have to give value to their perceptions, to their life experiences, because their perception is their reality. Our perception is our reality.”
Doing that, he said, will let police “build bridges.”
“And that's what we need to be doing in our nation,” he said. “Get away from the negative and understand there is a problem and we have to address it and we're going to address it together as a nation.”
According to Finner there’s “too many unarmed African-American or males of color, young males being shot in our nation. “
“We have to address that. But at the same time, let's talk about all the good work” of police, he said. “We also have to give value to a group of people when they're hurting, when they have lost a loved one in a police officer-involved shooting, that probably wasn't justified. So we have to just come together and really communicate.”
The chief said it’s especially important for the quick release video footage after police-involved killings.
“You have to release that footage,” he said. “[Houston] Mayor [Sylvester] Turner is getting ready to announce some of the reform that's coming because of the result of his task force on policing. We're going to have a press conference next week. And I don't want to get ahead of him, but you're going to see departments around the nation, it is a thing of transparency. You can't just talk transparency and not be transparent. The public needs to know. And the quicker you put those body-worn camera footage out, the better off everybody is going to be.”
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